Education Letter to the Editor

Obama Disappoints in Failure to ‘Break the Mold’

April 21, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

How long will it take to get a U.S. president and Congress that “get it” when it comes to public education (“Obama Echoes Bush on Education Ideas,” April 8, 2009)? Education is not about high standards and accountability; it’s about doing the sorts of things that will preserve and nurture enthusiasm for learning. That will cause students to achieve the highest standards possible, and accountability will become a nonissue.

Further, the only “accountability” that makes sense is holding an individual responsible for making the right diagnosis of a problem, and then for applying the best that is known about dealing with the problem with reasonable competence. That’s as true in medicine as it is in education or policymaking. The most basic accountability ought to be that of our elected leaders who delve into issue after issue—from education to economics to creating world peace—and make the wrong diagnosis, and then dictate the treatment that simply reinforces that faulty diagnosis. Then they wonder why things don’t improve and blame others.

I was hopeful, but not optimistic, that President Barack Obama would finally be the one to break the mold in this regard. So far, I don’t see that happening.

Education is about facilitating a child’s natural curiosity, from which all genuine learning emerges. Until we begin to hold the system accountable for that occurring, and measure (rather than test) it longitudinally, we will simply keep swatting at gnats with little relief, and all the unenlightened hoopla and “stimulus” from the powers that be will be for naught.

Bob Barkley

Worthington, Ohio

A version of this article appeared in the April 22, 2009 edition of Education Week as Obama Disappoints in Failure to ‘Break the Mold’


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education In Their Own Words The Stories That Stuck With Us, 2023 Edition
Our newsroom selected five stories as among the highlights of our work. Here's why.
4 min read
102523 IMSE Reading BS
Adria Malcolm for Education Week